June 12th, 2009 |

Dockside Wedding

 

The summer months have me dreaming of soft, romantic, outdoor weddings.  I fell in love with these images because they combine so many of my favorite things.  What could be better than a wedding full of seaside charm and peonies?!

There are a couple of details that I want to draw attention to:

  • I love the use of baskets for the ceremony!  Classic and fresh looking, they added charm to the aisle.
  • I talk a lot about defining space with overhead decorations for parties – lanterns, twinkle lights, streamers – anything that sets your space apart from the rest of the area.  These star lanterns take that concept to a whole new level!  Beautiful during the day,but can you picture them glowing at night?!  Breathtaking!  (By the way, don’t let this idea just apply to weddings!  Try re-creating this look over your patio table for your next outdoor party.)
  • Instead of spending a fortune on a traditional centerpiece, create a floral runner down the center of your table.  Loosely arrange blooms and mix in a ton of votive candles – the look is stunning!

Images: table setting (cynthiamartyn.typepad.com), dockside images (via Millie Holloman Photography)

June 11th, 2009 |

Summer Centerpiece

centerpiece-plus-placecardTry this idea for your next outdoor party….

Plant  each guest a small pot of flowers and add in a chalkboard stake.  Write your guest’s name on it….you have a placecard, a party favor and if you group them all together in the center of the table….a centerpiece too!

Image via Lollipop Events

June 11th, 2009 |

Shirley Temple

frozen-shirley-templeServe up this refreshing treat from Rachael Ray at your next party!

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh red grapefruit juice (about 4 grapefruits)
2 cups ginger ale
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons grenadine or pomegranate juice
4 maraschino cherries

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together the grapefruit juice, ginger ale, sugar and grenadine until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch metal baking dish and freeze for 2 hours. Using a fork, scrape the surface to break up the ice, then freeze for 2 more hours.

Scrape the surface again and divide the mixture among 4 chilled glasses; top each with a cherry. Serve immediately.

June 9th, 2009 |

Pottery Barn Free Entertaining Class

pb-backyard-entertaining-classHave any of you taken advantage of Pottery Barn‘s complimentary design/decorating classes?

Offered about once a month on Sunday mornings, Pottery Barn offers an hour-long session dedicated to a particular topic such as home decorating or hosting a spectacular dinner party.  My best friend and I have attended a few of the classes now – and we really enjoy them!  You spend an hour on Sunday morning with other woman that love decorating and entertaining as much as you do….and you get great ideas!  What could be better?!

Space does fill up – so contact your local store for availability.  Also – mark your calendar!  There are a couple other classes coming up that look great:

  • Backyard Entertaining (Sunday, June 14th – THIS Sunday!)
  • Decorating with Color & Pattern (Sunday, July 26th)
  • Creating the Perfect Home Office (Sunday, August 23rd)
June 8th, 2009 |

Scrumptious Summer Salads

Scrumptious Summer Salads

The ladies at Southern Living said it right – these salads are fresh, easy, and pretty enough for a party!

Here are a few new ideas for the next time your host asks you to “just bring a salad!”  (clockwise from the top)

June 8th, 2009 |

Graduation Pops!

My baby brother graduates today from 8th grade……I can’t believe he will be in high school next year!  No matter what the age, or what level of education achieved, graduations are a time for celebration!  These treats are sure to put a smile on any graduates face!graduation-cap-pops

The oh, so talented Bakerella came up with this creative idea for all of the upcoming graduation parties.  Using easy-to-find candy (mini peanut butter cups, godiva chocolate squares, and sour strings), you can quickly whip these up for your graduate’s special day!

Check out Bakerella for the full instructions!

graduation-cap-pops-how-to

June 5th, 2009 |

Family Dinner on the Patio

Family Dinner on the Patio

Now that the summer months are upon us, we will take to the patio for all of our family dinners.  There is just something about being outside that makes everyone relax and enjoy themselves.  This weekend, gather your family or friends for a simple dinner on the patio.

Add instant ambiance by hanging mason jar lanterns from your umbrella to add a little twinkle.  Dress up your table by adding a touch of nature to your placesetting.  I love the idea of tying a leaf or flower from your garden onto everyone’s napkin…it’s the perfect touch of color!

I’m on a bit of a fruit kick lately, so for dinner serve a peach, arugula and goat cheese salad, mango and chicken skewers, with brown sugar peaches with ice cream for dessert.  Yum!

What will you be serving at your next family dinner?!

June 4th, 2009 |

Sunflower Soiree

Sunflower Soiree

Sunflowers and black and white patterns – two of my favorites combine here to make one striking party!  The inspiration for this party came from Carolyne Roehm’s new book, A Passion for Parties.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s an absolute must-read!  Fabulous ideas and tons of eye candy.

Sunflowers are abundant during the summer months – so take advantage of these “happy” flowers and use them for your next birthday or dinner party.  Mixed with the bold stripes, the sunflowers create a graphic, modern look.

Images: table setting and cabana ( via A Passion for Parties by Carolyne Roehm)

June 3rd, 2009 |

Backyard Movie Party

backyard-movie-partyToday, we are going to forget the fancy invitations, the big, bold centerpieces and the creative placecards….today, we are throwing a different type of party.

Take advantage of the good weather while you have it and host a backyard movie party.  Create a makeshift movie screen and invite friends to stop over for a picnic and movie.

If you are lucky enough to own a projector – you are in good shape!  If not, don’t frete – you can rent one from a local audio-visual store for the night.  Although there are plenty of screens available these days, you can just hang a sheet on a wall or attached to a clothesline.

Set up different tiers of seating – blankets and pillows down front, then a tier of low-to-the-ground folding chairs, and then a row of taller director chairs in back.  If you have them available, you may want to add in a couple of small tables among the chairs so people can put their food and drinks  on them.

Looking to add a touch of ambiance to your “theater”?  Put up some Christmas lights in the trees – it will add a little twinkle!

backyard-movie-party-popcorn-lampServe up movie popcorn and candy to your guests.  Set up a consession stand with different glass jars of candy and big bowls of popcorn.  Place small glasses on the table so people can fill them up with treats to eat while watching the movie.  Plum Party Supplies has popcorn containers that are adorable….they would be perfect!

Now, I know I made a fuss about keeping this simple and not doing any sort of extravegant centerpieces……but, come on?!  Did you really think I could do a party without a centerpiece?!  We need just a little something on our food table and I love, love, love this idea from Rachael Ray….and it’s so simple to do!  All you need are two different glass cylinder vases (the smaller one could even be a tall glass), a candle and popcorn!

It is simple as this: place a candle into the small vase (or glass) and then place that into the larger vase.  Pour the popcorn into the vase to fill up the space in between.  Once you light that candle – your popcorn will glow!

Now, the only decision left is what movie to show!

Images via Rachael Ray Magazine

June 2nd, 2009 |

Lobster Boil

Lobster Boil

I don’t know about you, but nothing screams summer to me like a lobster boil!  Whether you host one on the beach or in your backyard, make sure to create your own little seafood soire this summer.

lobster-boil-platesSet your table using acrylic or melamine dishes – perfect for the patio or the beach!  I love these lobster appetizer plates from Plum Party Supplies – they would be great for either appetizers or dessert.  To add a creative, yet useful touch to your place setting – place a mini colander on each guest’s plate.  Fill the colander with a lemon (to squeeze over their lobster or crab), and a small bottle of wine.  Take it a step further by writing your guest’s name on a sand dollar and tying around the neck of the bottle – what a charming placecard, right?!

Use a galvanized bucket to house your party favors – lobster shaped suckers!  Tie a cute tag on them that says “thanks for coming to our lobster boil!”

Make the food simple and yummy – let the flavors of the spectacular seafood really shine.  Whether you decide to serve steamed lobster, or crab legs (or both!) – make sure you have a couple of easy, complementary side dishes.  My choices would include a shrimp cocktail to start,  fire-roasted corn salad, cheddar biscuits, and slices of fresh fruit.  Oh, and don’t forget the bucket of Corona’s!

Images: table setting (potterybarn.com), raniculus centerpiece (bhg.com), shrimp cocktail (brides.com), lobster sucker favors (theknot.com), crab legs (williams-sonoma.com), beach chairs (wshome.com)

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